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9 Free Things To Do in Toronto
The city of Toronto is filled with incredible activities—and lucky for you, plenty of them are totally free.
With tons of incredible nature, beautiful sights and city streets to explore, you’ll never run out of free things to do in Toronto. No matter the weather, there’s always something budget-friendly to keep you busy and learning all about this awesome international hub. Check out these nine free things to do in Toronto on your next visit and don’t forget to snap a photo of your favourite free activity!
1. Take a walk on Cherry Beach
Past the industrial parks and the bustle of the harbour, Toronto’s Cherry Beach offers a beautiful respite from the fast pace of city life. Cherry Beach is located on the outer edge of the harbour, so it’s technically walkable from downtown—but there’s also plenty of parking available at the beach for visitors.
With minimal facilities available, you can be sure Cherry Beach won’t be the busiest of Toronto’s beaches on a warm summer day. Washrooms and changing rooms are available, but the lack of boardwalk and picnic tables keep the crowds at bay. You can simply focus on the gentle laps of warm, shallow water rolling onto the sand and watch the windsurfers soar along the coastline at this quiet city escape.
2. Explore downtown on the PATH
With 30 km of underground pathways to explore, Toronto’s PATH network gives you access to all of downtown on foot. The PATH walkway will take you past all of downtown Toronto’s best and brightest attractions, including one elevated section between CN Tower and the Rogers Centre.
In this section, called the SkyWalk, you’ll see Toronto’s skyline reach above you and the busy street below. Don’t miss the artwork and artist profiles along the towering walls of the SkyWalk as you explore downtown on the PATH.
3. See the skyline at Polson Pier
For a different view of the skyline, check out Polson Pier at night. This iconic view is right by Cherry Beach, so it’s an easy addition to your day on the harbour. Watch Toronto light up each evening from this unique vantage point where you can get views of downtown, the CN Tower, Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. There’s also plenty to eat, drink and do all around Polson Pier, like the drive-in movie theatre and outdoor seating at the Cabana Waterfront Patio.
4. Experience local art at The Bentway
Beneath the towering Gardiner Expressway, local organizers have turned this concrete jungle into a beautiful community art space. The expressway roars above while visitors walk among local art, dance classes, a winter ice skating rink and a robust calendar of events throughout the year. Activities at The Bentway are often free, including concerts and community events, and the space is open all the time so you can visit to check out the current art installation 24/7, all year round.
5. Take photos at the St. Lawrence Market
Budding street photographers, this is your sign: head to the St. Lawrence Market for iconic Toronto photos and tons of inspiration. This mainstay Toronto market has been in operation since 1803, so there’s tons of history living in the walls (and beneath the tents) at this indoor-outdoor market.
Don’t miss the weekend farmers’ and antique markets. The best part? It’s an exciting excursion whether you buy something new or not—but you might have trouble resisting the delicious smell of St. Lawrence Market’s bakeries, restaurants and food stands!
6. Take a selfie with the Toronto sign
Speaking of photos, you really can’t leave Toronto without taking a selfie in front of the Toronto sign. Located in Nathan Phillips Square right by Toronto’s city hall, this iconic sign has attracted tourists for years. There’s even an ice skating rink here in the winter, so it’s worth a visit any time of the year. The Toronto sign is also conveniently located near York Street and King Street West, so you can easily grab a bite to eat after your trip to the ten-foot, light up sign.
7. Window shop in Yorkville
Regardless of your budget, spending a day shopping in Toronto’s high-end fashion district would end with a massive price tag—but it’s well worth a walk around just to window shop. The impressive window displays and upscale boutiques rival New York City’s fashion district, with designers from all over the world choosing downtown Toronto for flagships. Don’t forget to snap a pic with your favourite window display!
8. Spend the day outside at High Park
Although Toronto is filled with tens of incredible parks, High Park really has it all. Located just outside of downtown, this massive public park is worthy of an entire day’s excursion, with activities to keep you busy for hours.
You can easily avoid spending money at High Park by focusing on exploring the trails, perusing the gardens and packing a picnic to enjoy. However, there are also tons of paid activities at High Park, like free and paid shows at the High Park Amphitheatre and trips to the High Park Zoo. The scenic Grenadier Cafe also offers an excellent breakfast option for early risers.
9. Stroll to the Toronto Harbour Lighthouse
After an afternoon walking Tommy Thompson Park’s extensive waterfront trails, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible sight at the end: the Toronto Harbour Lighthouse. With a gorgeous view of the city and the marvel of the lighthouse itself, you won’t be disappointed by this beacon at the southern tip of the park.
Tommy Thompson Park has extensive walking trails, including a jaunt across the Tommy Thompson Park Floating Bridge. See the wildlife that calls Toronto home, all with a stunning view of the urban centre just across the water.
Whether you’re after a free outdoor excursion or an inexpensive way to enjoy a rainy day in the city, Toronto has plenty of free activities to offer. From stunning parks to downtown photo ops, walks underground to artwork beneath an overpass, there are tons of free ways to explore Toronto.
Don’t miss out on these exciting experiences that won’t have you pulling out your wallet every few minutes, like watching the sunset at Polson Pier or catching a free concert at The Bentway. Simply pack a lunch, lace up your trainers and get ready to enjoy all the great free things to do in Canada’s largest city.
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